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Old 11 January 2020, 07:36   #1
superfrog
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Getting A-Max IV to work in WinUAE

I've been experimenting for several days now with A-Max IV in WinUAE, trying to get it to boot up and work reliably, and have run into a lot of problems. I've used older versions of A-Max in WinUAE with very few issues. In order to limit the scope of this discussion for now, since there are so many variables at play, I will start out by stating what has worked best for me so far:

Stock A3000 base configuration with:

68030/68882 CPU/FPU w/MMU enabled, More Compatible checked
Full ECS, No Cycle-exact
KS 2.04 A3000 version
1M Chip, 8M motherboard Fast RAM
DF0: is High Density, DF1: is DD floppy drive
Hardfile attached to A3000 motherboard SCSI with base AmigaOS 2.1 installed

I am using a "cracked" copy of A-Max IV, since WinUAE does not emulate the A-Max Zorro-II board. This copy is available for download from the A-Max Homepage as AMAX4_HACK.ZIP. This incudes the required ROM image, and is supposed to work without any additional hardware, although obviously as with any cracked software, it is questionable how well it may actually work. However, Retro1234 posted regarding success in booting and using this particular version here:

https://eab.abime.net/showpost.php?p...postcount=1203

With this configuration, I got highly variable results when trying to boot floppy images with various versions of System 7.x (7.0, 7.0.1, 7.1, and 7.1.1). Among the common results I got were:

- Smiley Mac indicating it found a bootable volume, then freeze
- "Welcome to Macintosh" window opens, then freeze after "32-Bit Color loaded." message appears
- Screen clears and then freeze with blank desktop screen right before the desktop icons would normally appear; watch pointer hands are going around but no other activity
- Same as above, but freeze with watch pointer after desktop icons appear, and Finder is unusable

If I change the CPU setting from 68030 to 68040, and leave everything else the same, then several "Disk Tools" images will boot--versions 7.0, 7.0.1, 7.1, and 7.1.1. Booting the "Disk Tools" image is as far as I got with my testing at this stage.

Upon Shutdown, immediately after returning to the Workbench, the system crashes with a Guru. Also, I cannot boot directly from a HD floppy image inserted in DF0:. The "Happy Mac" appears, and then A-Max restarts, initiating a loop. I've read elsewhere that the floppy drives may not work without the hardware, since the board contains its own floppy controller. After booting from an image, I am able to insert a HD floppy in DF0: and browse it in the Finder, however.

No combination of settings involving a 68020 or 68030 worked for me. I also tried various combinations of MMU enabled/disabled or EC type CPU, More compatible ticked or unticked, DMS Cycle-exact ticked/unticked, etc.

Has anyone had success getting A-Max IV to work reliably in WinUAE? If so, can you please upload your WinUAE config, AmigaOS/A-Max hardfile(s), and any Mac boot image you are using that works? I am hoping I might be able to figure out how to get this working better by looking at a config that works. Also, I'd be curious to hear if others have had the same issues I've reported here re: floppy not booting, Guru upon Mac shutdown, etc. Has anyone had success booting to the desktop using a 68020 or 68030 CPU?

I am starting to get the impression that A-Max IV just may not work all that well without the hardware, or at least may only work well with a very specific combination of WinUAE/A-Max settings and Mac System Software, but I'm also curious if I can get it to work reliably.

Thanks for any tips, suggestions, or working configs/hardfiles/disk images you might be able to offer.
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Old 11 January 2020, 12:42   #2
Retro1234
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It's buggy as hell I seem to remember having Cycle Exact ticked, iirc it does work ok on my A1200, but it was quite quickly superseded by ShapeShifter then Fusion.
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Old 11 January 2020, 14:04   #3
Toni Wilen
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There are too many unknown variables to confirm if the problem is emulation, amax, crack, amax installation, mac installation or something else.
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Old 11 January 2020, 21:16   #4
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What happens when you boot the (unmodified) Disk Tools floppy disk for each OS version?

Are you able to run the Mac OS Installer after booting Disk Tools?

Does it help if you hold Shift down while booting, to disable extensions?
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Old 12 January 2020, 02:04   #5
superfrog
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I have successfully booted unmodified Disk Tools versions 7.0, 7.0.1, 7.1, and 7.1.1 (booting from file devices, not from "real floppies.") When they work, they all boot as expected. When they don't, they freeze at one of the four points I mentioned in the list from my original post. I haven't been able to discern much predictability or consistency in how or when a given version fails to boot fully. I've seen it happen more than once where the same version will freeze at one point in the boot process, and then after rebooting the Amiga, the same version will freeze at a different point. Or it will boot successfully on one try, then the next time it freezes.

One thing I have noticed is that I get consistently different results if I make changes to the configuration in the A-Max GUI before starting A-Max, compared to starting in "auto" mode, bypassing the GUI completely. Most of the instances where it froze and then booted the next time around, I made changes in the GUI the first time (usually selecting a different boot volume) and started in "auto" mode the second time.

I haven't tried installing the OS yet; so far I've been focused on just getting the boot disk to boot reliably. Now that I can get it to boot most of the time, I will try doing the install next. I will also try disabling extensions to see if that makes any difference.

Do you have a particular WinUAE configuration or System Software version that has given you consistently good results?

Last edited by superfrog; 12 January 2020 at 12:04.
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Old 12 January 2020, 12:07   #6
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Okay, I've managed to figure a few things out today. After completing the installation of System 7.0 onto a hardfile (attached to emulated Amiga SCSI controller, not an A-Max hardfile), I can take this same hardfile and boot it running A-Max IV within several different WinUAE configurations, including the A3000 68030 and a stock A1200 configurations (the same configurations that would not boot the Disk Tools images.) It seems that after completing the "For All Macintosh Systems" installation, it becomes far less picky about what kind of environment it will boot under. This would seem to indicate that the boot disks themselves require a more narrowly specific hardware configuration to run in (in particular a 68048 CPU), at least with A-Max IV. I can't imagine that is how it would work on real Mac hardware, unless I somehow ended up with a bunch of disks that will only boot on a 68040. Seems very unlikely to me.

Regarding the random lock-ups when attempting to boot, and the Guru crashes when shutting down/exiting A-Max IV, and the random crashes when trying to start A-Max after changing settings in the A-Max GUI, I found that quitting out of WinUAE and starting completely fresh eliminated the vast majority of the issues. This sort of reminds me of how when using the Bridgeboards, it is necessary to quit out of WinUAE when rebooting because a soft reboot does not completely reset the system state. Could there be something similar going on with A-Max IV for some reason? I would have thought this to be unlikely given A-Max IV is only software, and I thought the Bridgeboard reset issue was a problem with the emulated hardware. But if I quit and restart clean instead of soft reboot, I end up having far fewer problems with random lock-ups; although it does not eliminate them completely.
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Old 12 January 2020, 21:52   #7
mark_k
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I wonder what changes there were between version 4.007 (which the hacked version is based on) and 4.008.

I searched for AMax IV on Google Groups and there are a variety of threads mentioning problems which may be similar to yours. One thread mentions Workbench 2.1 being the last tested/supported for use with A-Max IV. This one mentions pre-4.008 having issues with 68040s.

Also read through this thread, you're probably having some of the same problems they were...

If you're able to boot System 7.1 after installing it, you could try installing System Update 3.0, maybe that fixes some Mac-side bugs? Boot with extensions disabled, I seem to remember that some cause problems (A/ROSE?).
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Old 13 January 2020, 02:13   #8
superfrog
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Thanks for the links to those discussions, they made interesting reading. Concerning version 4.007 vs. 4.008, there appear to be cracked copies of both floating around. Most that I've seen are 4.007; I found a copy of 4.008 in an archive called AMAXIVCR. However, when I try to run it, I always get an instant crash/guru after starting the emulation. So far I've had better luck with 4.007.

It is interesting to read that people have had problems with running it on 68040, because that is the only CPU I've had anything approaching success getting it to work with so far in WinUAE.

I tried setting the Task Priority to -1, and I'll find out after a while if that cuts down or eliminates the guru on quitting the emulator.

Oh well, at least I can take comfort in knowing I'm far from alone in having had a lousy experience with A-Max IV It sounds like it was a rush job they shoved out the door prematurely and then tried to wash their hands of it as quickly as possible right after. Too bad given the previous releases of A-Max were actually quite good.
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